Twelve words that are cutting my heart out.
I don’t accept that.
The paper crumples in my fist as I growl under my breath. I won’t allow her to walk out of my life. I don’t know what the fuck is going on with her, but I don’t believe for one second that she did this on her own. Someone is pulling her strings. Her dad, maybe. This fiancé, whoever he is. I don’t know, but I’m going to find out, and I’m going to stop whatever is happening.
I pull out my phone as I flatten out the paper again. I might not like what’s written there, but it was still written by her. And that makes it precious to me.
“Hello?” Tor sounds groggy as he answers the phone. Probably sleeping, given how early it is.
“I need your help, bro. I need any help you can give me. Call Chance too. Fuck, get Sophia standing by with an internet connection. I need you all right now. Something shitty is going down and I don’t know how long I’ve got.”
There’s a pause, and I hear Natalie in the background. I’m sorry to do this to them, but I need back up because I don’t know what’s what but I know I’m bringing her with me when I find her, even if it takes an army.
“Give me one second, brother.” A second later, Tor’s back on the line. “Tell me what you need.”
“You’ve got PIs on call, right? Good ones, if I know you.”
“Sure. The best. They find shithead husbands trying to hide out. I find mistresses and people with no names. Yeah, whatever you need, what’s going on?”
“Just call them. Tell them to be ready. I need to find someone.”
“The distraction.” I pull my hand down my beard as I think about how monumental a task this is, and how little time we might have to do something about it.
“No shit. That was fast. She’s already on the run from you?” I hear the humor in his voice but there’s not time for fucking jokes right now.
“I’m going to tell you a few things, and I need you to listen, not talk. Her name is Anna Farkas. She’s the daughter of Niko Farkas and she’s engaged or promised or some fucking thing. I don’t know who she’s engaged to. I’m going to head to their house now, but I need to know who this fiancé piece of shit is. She doesn’t want to marry him, but they’re making her, some sort of arranged thing but there’s more to it. I don’t know the fucking details but I have to fucking find her, man.”
Tor clears his throat. “Okay, try to hold it together. I’ll call my people. I’ll call Chance. We’ll find him. We’ll get to the bottom of this. But Cyrus, if she doesn’t want to be with you, if she’s made her choice, you have to respect that.”
The fuck I do. The fuck I will.
“Really? So you’re telling me if Natalie had given you the shove off you would have just politely bowed out?” Silence. “Yeah, that’s what I thought.”
I’m not going to respect anything. She doesn’t want to marry him but something smells like shit and she’s stuck, I can feel it.
One way or another, I’m getting her out of this and I’m doing it today.
“It’ll be fine,” I say through gritted teeth, trying to convince myself, knowing nothing about this will ever be fine if anything happens to her.
“Good. Pick me up on the way to the house. I’ll get Chance here. We’ve got your back, little brother.”
I drove my Suburban right through the fucking front gate of her parent’s house when my attempt to be buzzed through failed. Now, it’s me against the front door and lucky for it, after pounding for thirty seconds it opens a crack.
“Where the fuck is she?”
I slam my foot into the door jamb before the house manager can shut me out, then lean all my weight into the door, pushing him back so hard he stumbles.
Even in my fury, I catch him before he can fall, setting him right. This isn’t his fault, even if every nerve is screaming for someone to blame.
“I…I can’t tell you. Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
“She isn’t in the guesthouse. I already looked there. So where is she? Anna!” I call out to the ceiling, but there’s no response. Somehow I know she isn’t here. I can feel it. I just can’t feel where she is.
Chance is suddenly right beside me, his fist gripping the manager’s collar. “You think he’s scary? Now it’s my turn. If you don’t tell us what we want to know, you little shit…”
The manager squeals and flails, and I watch with satisfaction. Chance won’t hurt him. He’s a gentle giant. But he looks like a fucking walking nightmare and if this guy knows anything, he’ll spill.